For fifteen-year-old Mariana Ruiz, it's not so much an unexpected vacation as a literal "guilt trip"--her father's way of atoning for ignoring his Puerto Rican roots. But freedom from her parents is little compensation for being forced to spend two months with complete strangers rather than with her best friends in Philadelphia.
Once on "vacation," her worst fears come true. The heat is merciless, the food is spicy, and her great aunt and uncle's mountain house teems with relatives, only one of whom--her distant cousin Lilly--speaks English. Bored, and hoping to make up for missing her best friend's star-studded Sweet 16, Mariana offers to help in the planning of Lilly's Quinceañera. Soon, despite herself, Mariana clicks with new friends who open doors to romance and long-hidden secrets. Suddenly the summer she dreaded is ending way too quickly. It might turn out that the last place she ever wanted to go is the one place she truly finds herself.
Funny, touching, and smart, Amor and Summer Secrets is a story about friendship, family, rivalry, secrets, and how much you can change over the course of one loco summer. . .
About the Author
Diana Rodriguez Wallach’s debut young adult novel, Amor and Summer Secrets, is the first in a series to be published by Kensington Publishing in September 2008. The sequels to the series, Amigas and School Scandals and Adios to all the Drama, will be released in November 2008 and January 2009, respectively.
The series features a 15-year female protagonist from Philadelphia’s Main Line who is forced to spend the summer in Puerto Rico with family she’s never met. Born to a Puerto Rican father and a Polish mother, Diana has experienced the cultures her characters inhabit, and many of the multi-cultural themes expressed in the novel are based on her personal background.
Diana holds a journalism degree from Boston University, and during her junior year, she studied in Madrid, Spain. Post graduation, she moved to Manhattan where she worked as a reporter for a hotel trade magazine and served as the managing editor of an online real estate publication. In 2003, she moved back to her native Philadelphia and joined the Philadelphia Education Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to improving inner-city public schools.
Her first novel, Amor and Summer Secrets, sold to Kensington Publishing on Fat Tuesday 2007 while she was at the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband Jordan.